Microsoft OneNote 2013 Free now without restrictions (but one)

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 14, 2015
Updated • Jan 4, 2018
Companies, Microsoft

OneNote 2013 is a note-taking application by Microsoft that is available for various desktop and mobile operating systems.

It is part of all editions of Microsoft Office 2013 and Office 365, and has been made available as a standalone version for Windows as well.

This standalone version has been freely available in a limited version for personal use since last year for Windows 7 and newer systems of the company.

Several OneNote features were restricted or not available at all in the free version on the other hand, and users who wanted to access those as well had to buy a full copy of Office 2013 or subscribe to one of Microsoft's Office 365 plans.

Brad Carob, the program manager for the OneNote team, announced yesterday on the company's Office blog that these restrictions have been lifted.

This means essentially that users who run the standalone version of OneNote on Windows 7 or Windows 8 get the same feature set as users who run it as part of an Office 2013 installation or Office 365 subscription.

In particular, the following features are now available to OneNote 2013 Free users:

Password Protected Sections

password protect section

A section is a tab in OneNote and it is now possible to password protect individual sections in the application.

This is done with a right-click on the section and the selection of Password Protect This Section from the context menu that opens up.

Page History

page history

Go back to see a previous version of a page. This can be done from the History tab in the main toolbar. There you find the page versions button which you can click on.

This is also the place to delete  all versions or disable the history entirely for the notebook.

Audio and video recording

record audio video

OneNote 2013 Free supports the recording of audio and video contents now. To do so switch to the Insert tab in the main toolbar and select either the record audio or record video button there.

Audio search

Search for words in voice and video recordings.

Embedded files

insert file

It is now possible to embed Office documents and other files directly in a OneNote notebook.

While that is great for users of the free version, there is still one restriction in place and that is that you cannot create local notebooks. The free version of OneNote supports Microsoft's cloud storage service OneDrive exclusively for saving data.

If you are interested in OneNote 2013 you can download it from the official website. Note that it is offered as a 32-bit and 64-bit download and that you need to pick the right version if you have Office installed on your system.

If you are already running OneNote 2013 on your system you can perform an update check with a click on File > Account. There you need to click on Update Options and select Update Now. The version that lifts the restrictions is 15.0.4693.1001.

Microsoft OneNote 2013 Free now without restrictions (but one)
Article Name
Microsoft OneNote 2013 Free now without restrictions (but one)
Microsoft has lifted most OneNote 2013 Free restrictions that were in place since last year when the company published the version for Windows desktops.

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  1. The Dark Lady said on July 9, 2023 at 11:19 am

    Martin, I would appreciate that you do not censor this post, as it’s informative writing.

    Onur, there is a misleading statement “[…] GIFs are animated images …”. No, obviously you don’t seem to have take much notice of what you were told back in March regarding; Graphics Interchange Format (GIF).

    For example, (if you had read my replies within that thread, you might have learnt something useful). I even mentioned, “GIF intrinsically supports animated images (GIF89a)”.

    You linked to said article, [Related: …] within this article, but have somehow failed to take onboard what support you were given by several more knowledgeable people.

    If you used AI to help write this article, it has failed miserably.

  2. KeZa said on August 17, 2023 at 5:58 pm

    AI is stupid, and it will not get any better if we really know how this all works. Prove me wrong..

  3. Database failure said on August 18, 2023 at 5:21 pm

    Martin, [#comment-4569908] is only meant to be in: []. Whereas it appears duplicated in several recent random low-quality non relevant articles.

    Obviously it [#comment-4569908] was posted: 9 July 2023. Long before this thread even existed… your database is falling over. Those comments are supposed to have unique ID values. It shouldn’t be possible to duplicate the post ID, if the database had referential integrity.

  4. Howard Pearce said on August 25, 2023 at 12:24 pm

    Don’t tell me!

    Ghacks wants the state to step in for STATE-MANDATED associations to save jobs!!!

    Bring in the dictatorship!!!

    And screw Rreedom of Association – too radical for Ghacks maybe

  5. Howard Allan Pearce said on September 7, 2023 at 9:13 am

    GateKeeper ?

    That’s called “appointing” businesses to do the state’s dirty work!!!!!

    But the article says itself that those appointed were not happy – implying they had not choice!!!!!!

  6. owl said on September 7, 2023 at 9:50 am

    @The Dark Lady,
    @Database failure,
    @Howard Pearce,
    @Howard Allan Pearce,

    Note: I replaced the quoted URI scheme: https:// with “>>” and posted.

    The current is owned by “Softonic International S.A.” (sold by Martin in October 2019), and due to the fate of M&A, has changed in quality.
    Many Authors of bloggers and advertisers certified by Softonic have joined the site, and the site is full of articles aimed at advertising and clickbait.
    As it stands, except for articles by Martin Brinkmann, Mike Turcotte, and Ashwin, they are low quality, unhelpful, and even vicious. It is better not to read those articles.
    How to display only articles by a specific author:
    Added line to My filters in uBlock Origin:,.home-posts,.home-category-post:not(:has-text(/Martin Brinkmann|Mike Turcotte|Ashwin/))

    By the way, if you use an RSS reader, you can track exactly where your comments are (I’m an iPad user, so I use “Feedly Classic”, but for Windows I prefer the desktop app “RSS Guard”).
    RSS Guard: Feed reader which supports RSS/ATOM/JSON and many web-based feed services.

  7. Anonymous said on September 14, 2023 at 6:41 pm

    We all live in digital surveillance glass houses under scrutiny of evil people because of people like Musk. It’s only fair that he takes his turn.

  8. Anonymous said on September 18, 2023 at 1:31 pm

    “Operating systems will be required to let the user choose the browser, virtual assistant and search engine of their choice. Microsoft cannot force users to use Bing or Edge. Apple will have to open up its iOS operating system to allow third-party app stores, aka allow sideloading of apps. Google, on the other hand, will need to provide users with the ability to uninstall preloaded apps (bloatware) from Android devices. Online services will need to allow users to unsubscribe from their platform easily. Gatekeepers need to provide interoperability with third-parties that offer similar services.”

    Wonderful ! Let’s hope they’ll comply with that law more than they are doing with the GDPR.

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